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Small Business Tips

9 reasons trade shows are important for your business

Justine Rabideau

In today's digital age, marketing has become concentrated on mobile devices and computer screens. You might be asking yourself, ‚"Why are trade shows important?". The value of person-to-person networking flies beneath the radar, even though personal connections often solidify strong business relationships.

These nine advantages of trade show attendance explain the benefits of making eye contact with others in your industry.

1. Be face-to-face with potential customers

You may have done your homework on the best ways to attract attention online, but what about in person? Meeting with potential customers face-to-face means you can talk freely about your brand and answer questions on the spot. You have the chance to showcase your passion for your business, and that genuine attitude can create amazing first impressions.

Some customers may also feel more comfortable doing business with someone whose hand they can actually shake. It gives them a better idea of who you are, which creates confidence in your integrity.

2. Have a motivated audience

Most people who attend trade shows do so because they're looking for something. Many want to see what's new and innovative in their field. Others may be searching for solutions to problems they're facing in their own businesses. For you, this means a captive audience that has an incentive to hear what you have to say.

3. Check out the competition

You'll never have a better chance to scope out the competition than at a trade show. You can use the opportunity to see what other companies are doing differently. Maybe some of them are offering services that your customers want. Let trade shows educate you on the ways you can be better, in order to compete with similar brands.

4. Find valuable partners

Specialty trade shows bring out a variety of companies within a similar area of expertise. While this could result in a lineup of competitive brands, it may also mean potential partners.

No matter which industry you represent, you likely need support from vendors or other outsourced services. One of the biggest benefits of exhibiting at a trade show is the opportunity to create these professional bonds. Good relationships can improve your operation and lead to further success.

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5. Expand your reach

When you attend trade shows in various regions of the country, you have the ability to expand your customer base. You'll have access to clients who may have never known you existed otherwise. Impressing local attendees can drive traffic to your website, which could translate into sales.

If you're concerned about the hefty expenses of traveling, don't be. You'll likely make up for the cost with new sales and promising connections. Whether you send a sales representative or go on your own, you may also be able to receive significant deductibles when tax season rolls around. Just make sure you use an appropriate system to track your mileage.

6. Get instant feedback

Trade show attendees can be the perfect focus group for aspects of your business where you need some input. When people stop by your booth, ask them questions and encourage honest responses. This is a great chance to promote new products or services and instantly know what people think. Feedback like this can be invaluable if your audience points out potential problems you hadn't considered.

7. Meet existing clients

When networking with others in the industry, you may even have the opportunity to shake hands with customers you signed online. This personal acquaintance helps strengthen your existing business relationships. Customers may also increase their business based on the meeting, turning small contracts into big ones.

8. Advertise your brand

You can prepare for trade show success by coming equipped with lots of branded giveaways. Handing out something with your name and pertinent information keeps your business in the minds of potential clients.

While you'll definitely be marketing yourself, you can also benefit from trade show marketing. Attendees will likely receive information about all exhibits, including yours, at the start of the day. Some events may even host special presentations throughout the event to highlight select participants.

9. Make sales

Sales are the driving force of your bottom line, and trade shows can be lucrative. In-person negotiations, along with special trade show deals and discounts, allow you to lock up new business quickly.  In addition to reaching big agreements, you can also sell older products at lower rates to help clear out inventory.

Each of these reasons to exhibit at a trade show allow you to expand your business. Events like these keep you relevant in your industry. They give you the rare chance to meet with both existing and potential clients in person and even size up your competitors. Next time you have the opportunity to showcase your brand at a trade show, don't let it pass you by.

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